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Doug Pitt portrays his brother in a parody of the film, “Seven.”
Photo courtesy Mother’s Brewing Co.
Doug Pitt portrays his brother in a parody of the film, “Seven.”

Opinion: Springfield creativity is ‘what’s in the box’

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“What’s in the box?”

This famous line comes at the end of the film “Seven,” aka “Se7en,” starring Springfield native Brad Pitt, when his character discovers the grisly truth of a serial killer’s final act.

With a new parody of the movie, Mother’s Brewing Co. shows that this time, what’s in the box is a six-pack of Springfield creativity.

Cleverly called “6ix,” the ad for Mother’s new beer, called Doin’ Good, features Springfield businessman Doug Pitt playing Brad in a shot-for-shot, PG-rated version of his brother’s detective portrayal in the 1995 film. It also has Jon Herbert, an Ozarks Technical Community College theater instructor, acting as Morgan Freeman’s character and David Soper, Mother’s head of production, doing his best Kevin Spacey.

“Shut the flip up you piece of snot,” Doug Pitt says in the ad, replacing some R-rated language in the movie and carrying a water hose instead of a gun. “What’s in the box? Tell me what’s in the flippin’ box.”

From the filmography of the ad to the acting – it helps that Pitt lives here running his technology businesses – the video is yet another example of the quality of talent on tap in the Queen City.

I caught up with Austin Elliott, co-owner of Locke & Stache, which produced the ad, to get his take.

Elliott likened the increase in quality of Springfield’s video scene to the idiom, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

“A lot of it is, honestly, just the communal element of it,” he says. “It’s a pretty tight-knit community that all realizes there’s a lot of work to be had in this area or outside of this area.”

Elliott gave credit to industry peers such as Brandon Goodwin, whose new venture 417 Grip all-in-one filmmaking truck was on set at the “6ix” shoot. He also conversed with comedian Jeff Houghton, who has experience going viral with his “Instagram Husband” video, as the ad quickly grew in internet popularity. The ad had 270,000 views on YouTube as of press time, and it was picked up in articles by Vice, People and other publications.

Anne Mauldin, marketing director for Mother’s, applauded Pitt for participating in the ad.

“He thought our script was really funny,” Mauldin says, laughing as she recalled Pitt reciting the “piece of snot” line.

It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, as proceeds of Doin’ Good are going to Pitt’s Care to Learn nonprofit.

Mauldin estimates $1,500 will be donated to the nonprofit, as Mother’s is collecting a portion of sales from the limited run, 90- to 100-barrel orange wheat ale expected to be in the market well into summer. Pitt also was the inspiration for the beer, as Care to Learn had been looking for a way to celebrate its founder’s birthday.

Echoing the “Make Something Where You Are,” sentiment crafted by Houghton, Elliott says the co-owners of Locke & Stache are Missouri State University graduates who chose to stay in the city instead of following the trajectory of some other students who have moved away.

“Springfield’s a cool spot,” he says, noting with an “internet connection and equipment,” quality work is just as likely to come from Springfield.

As Springfield continues to craft its identity – particularly when it comes to recruiting and retaining young professionals – our level of talent should be considered among our best assets.

Springfield Business Journal Web Editor Geoff Pickle can be reached at gpickle@sbj.net.

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